Analog Tales 1: The Praktica B200

The Praktica B200 is still my favourite analog camera because it belonged to my late mother, who bought it in Berlin in 1981. It had been around during my whole childhood, but it was rarely used because the batteries were expensive and it actually had to repaired at one point because the mirror was locking up. Built from 1979 to 1982, the B200 was the East German VEB Pentacon‘s top analog SLR, but slightly behind the times compared to the Japanese competition because it lacked a fully automatic mode. It was still a good alternative to the more expensive Canons, Nikons or Minoltas at the time and a great choice for a SLR in early 1980s Germany.

A couple of years I took it out again and shot some film on it – and in 2021 I took it back to Berlin to take some photos where it all began 40 years ago. While I have an M42 adapter for it to use the many screw-mount lenses in my collection, for a long time I only had the Prakticar 50mm f/1.8 lens with the native automatic aperture bayonet mount. Recently the Prakticar 28mm f/2.8 wide angle lens for which I had been looking for a long time came into my hands and I also found another slightly broken B200 body in case I need spare parts thanks camera store I work in – it’s good to be at the source!

Nowadays I have semi-retired the Praktica B200, because zoom lenses with native Praktica mount are hard to find and I unexpectedly found a very nice Canon A-1 with all the lenses I was missing on the Praktica. I will still use the B200 occasionally, but for now the A-1 is simply more convenient for shooting film.

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